2015 was a landmark year for unicorn companies since there was a record amount of startups who joined the exclusive billion-dollar club.
While there have been a number of skeptics who believe that this bubble is going to burst, others believe that another, "year of the unicorn" may just be beginning.
As Miguel Helft states in Forbes, “a bubble implies a systemic problem and an existential danger, and when you view these high-growth startups as a long-term portfolio, that’s simply not the case.”
For example, “the 93 firms based in the U.S. (Americorns?) are worth $322 billion, 14 percent less than Microsoft and a bit more than Intel and Cisco combined.”
With that in mind, it appears that there are still more than enough opportunities for startups to become the next unicorn. As I'm trying to grow my online invoicing startup to unicorn status, I find that the more I mimic unicorn companies the more successful we become.
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Zuora: Subscription Business Serivces
Founded in 2007, Zuora is a software company that designs and sells SaaS applications for enterprises wanting to create a subscription business model. As you’ve probably noticed, subscription based services, such as Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, Blue Apron, and BirchBox are all the rage right now, which means that there’s a high demand for companies to sell their products or services using a subscription model.
Zuora has already raised around $250 million in funding and was valued at under just a billion dollars in March 2015. So, it’s not a question of if, but when Zuora will become the latest member of the “billion dollar club.”
Flatiron Health: Cancer Care Advancements
The New York City-based Flatiron Health, which was founded in 2012 and gathers and analyzes data on cancer treatments and then sells software based on that information, recently received a $175 million investment from pharmaceutical giant Roche. According to Nat Turner, Flatiron’s chief executive and co-founder, “We plan to go public in two to three years.” Turner added, “To do so, we’ll have to meet certain financial metrics, and this investment sets us up to do that.”
With the trust of its investors, which also include First Round Capital and Google Ventures, and as Katie Benner states in The New York Times, “the rising interest among health care players in personalized medicine,” Flatiron’s future appears extremely bright.
Taboola happens to be the world’s leading content discovery platform that connects people with recommended content that interests them. According to Fast Company, Taboola receives one billion clicks per month. The company was founded in 2007 in Israel but is now headquartered in New York City and has received funding from Comcast and Baidu, which has raised its value to approximately $1 billion.
4. 3D Robotics
Headquartered in Berkeley, CA, 3D Robotics has been designing and manufacturing both commercial and recreational unmanned aerial vehicles since 2009. Today, 3D Robotics is one of the biggest drone makers in the U.S. and has raised more than $99 million. The company recently teamed up with Sony for a project that would integrate a camera onto a drone so that it can scan the world in 3D.
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It appears that cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, are finally being embraced by the mainstream. In fact, as of April 2016, there have been more than 120 million transactions using electronic coins. If there was one cryptocurrency-related startup that is capable of becoming one of the elusive billion-dollar startups it would most likely be Coinbase.
Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and exchange company that has been operating since 2012. In 2015, the VC Experts Blog reported that the company “raised $75M from DFJ Growth, with participation from existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital,” which raised its value to $471 million.
6. Dollar Shave Club
By now you’ve probably seen the hilarious ads that Dollar Shave Club has released since launching in 2012. The online subscription which delivers affordable men’s grooming products like razor blades, post-shave moisturizer, wipes, and hair gel, has become the second most popular razor cartridge brand with more than 2.2 million subscribers and the potential to raise more than $200 million in sales over the next year.
Related Article: Cultivating Entrepreneurship: How Startups Fuel Regional Economies
Weebly is a web-hosting service that allows users to easily construct a website by using a drag-and-drop website builder. Based in San Francisco, the startup was founded in 2007 and has received funding from serious investors like Sequoia Capital and Tencent Holdings. In 2015, Weebly was reported to have more than 25 million users and was valued at $490 million. I think it'll top the billion dollar list soon.